By Dr. Dustine Rey published in the February issue of Talega Life

DESIGNING CLEAR INTENTIONS for you and as a family can have a powerful impact – on motivation, optimism, connection and self-worth.

Creating annual intentions is a way to focus on the deliberateness of what we plan to experience and feel. Our intentions provide a course of action that we plan to follow, preparing us to respond and to create. What are you intentionally creating for 2015?

Setting intentions with children is a fun, easy and often artistic process that may take a bit of practice. First, talk to your children about moments that feel good as a family. If they are old enough, allow them to write these moments down. List at least three or four. Include photographs for more reflection and fun discussions. Some families have reported moments such as playing in the neighborhood, conversations in the car, walking to school, bedtime routines, cooking together and even the absence of conflict (such as sibling arguing and tension over homework).

aa Then, reflect on the theme of what feels good within your family. Try to connect it to an emotion that the whole family can agree upon and be excited about experiencing. It might be helpful to provide a short list of ideas such as love, playfulness, gratitude or compassion. If children can identify a desired outcome, then all you have to do is show them what causes the emotion. Some examples are feeling connected, secure, playful, funny or curious. Other ideas include everyone being patient, expressing gratitude for each other, having empathy for one another, spending quality time together in nature or creating a project together. The emotions experienced in these moments can be some of the intentions for the year. How about: “We will be kind with each other” or “We will express our gratitude before bed” or “We will be patient with ourselves and those who help us.”

Here is the best part, help your children illustrate what the family intentions look like. Provide art materials, alphabet stickers and photos to assist them in illustrating the family intentions in the form of an art piece. Poster and foam boards made great canvases for intention boards. Be sure to include written quotes said by the family when the intentions are experienced. For example: “I am grateful that mommy took me to gymnastics” or “I feel happy when I help bake” or “Games are more fun when we take turns” or “When we all do our jobs in our home, we have more fun together.”

Finally, find a spot in the home to display your family’s intention for 2015. This may become one of your favorite art pieces in the house and a great discussion piece for visiting guests. Encourage your children to tell the story about its development and its meaning. This fun activity motivates and deepens the connection within a family. It is a meaningful annual tradition for preparing and planning a positive new year.